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Ian Neal

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Joined: March 04 2008
Location: Retirement Home
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Posts: 3648
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    Posted: July 03 2011 at 04:39

Ian Neal is a new composer and artist who has made some waves with his two albums out on most online music stores. He is operating in and out of the symphonic prog genre.

I got in touch with him for his story.

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Let's start with some personal questions. Who are you, where were you born, where do you live now and what made you take up music ? Have you also been involved in any other bands or projects ?

I grew up in Sheffield, England. I now live in the English county of Derbyshire in a rural setting.
I used to play in bands, but decided to focus on composing and producing my own albums around the year 2000.

Are you alone in your adventure or have you involved others too in your albums ? Who are they and where did you recruit them from ?

All the musicianship and production is undertaken by myself. Primarily I'm a keyboard player and my second instrument is guitar.




Over to your two albums. Your debut album was All The Golden Afternoon from March 2011. Please tell us more about this album.

"All in the Golden Afternoon..." is a concept album. Its title track provides the conceptual cues inspired by the figure of Lewis Carroll and the Victorian summers that were the context for his producing Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Like other tracks, it features evocative samples of spoken poetry, (in this case Carroll’s poem ‘All in the Golden Afternoon’ which features as a preface to the book). My goal with the album was to mix prog with some newer musical forms from the "electronica" genre.




You returned with your second album Out Of The Woods one month later. Please tell us more about this album.

“Out of the Woods” is my second album. Following in the spirit of “All in the Golden Afternoon…” it displays richness in both instrumentation and imagery. Watery landscapes provide one thematic backdrop for reveries on sea storms, lakes, rivers and waterfalls. Another brings to light woods and trees, and the onset of autumn. Two tracks provide poetic reflections on the theme of war: both “The Soldier” and “On the Idle Hill of Summer” feature readings of the poems by Rupert Brooke and A.E. Housman respectively, and tie the imagery to the notion of the soldier’s landscape.

Is there any common theme or ethos you presents on your two albums ?

The common themes are:- an emphasis on instrumental tracks; rich dynamics - crescendos and quieter passages; a mixture of instrumentation; a sense of evoking the visual landscapes and a sense of the listener being taken on a journey through their listening of the tracks.

Both albums has been released and is being distributed through Bandcamp. What is your experience so far with Bandcamp ? How has the reactions to your albums been so far ?

I've released my music on Bandcamp, which I think is a great resource for musicians. My music is also available at the most popular digital stores too.

For those of us unknown with your music; how would you describe you music and which bands would you compare yourself with ?

Aside from occasionally detectable shades of early Genesis, where does this highly individual sound come from?  An intriguing mix of tuition and  influences, it seems.   “My father ran a music store specialising in organs, so it was organ rather than piano that shaped my playing and writing,” Ian points out.  “I came to love progressive rock acts like Genesis, Steve Hackett, Mike Oldfield and Jean-Michel Jarre, with Genesis keyboardsman Tony Banks a specific important influence for his instrumentation.  Where I may differ, though, from other progressive rock artists  is that I also admire contemporary electronica bands like Air and Lemon Jelly.  Dance-based, Lemon Jelly’s sound appealed for its acoustic, almost folky overtones and they fascinatingly sampled curious, eccentric English voices, which set me off on that path.

What is your current status and plans for this year and beyond ?

I'm currently working on my third album which will have a more synthy feel to it, and the theme is centred around science fiction.



Thank you to Ian Neal for this interview

His homepage is here

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